In Virginia, Plenty Unlimited Inc. will invest $300 million over the next six years to build the world’s largest indoor vertical farming campus. The operation will be located in Chesterfield County’s Meadowville Technology Park near Richmond. The California-based company recently secured $400 million in a Series E financing round, the largest investment to date for an indoor farming company.
Plenty has developed the world’s most advanced indoor farm, powered by the company’s more than 200 patent assets, to efficiently and sustainably grow clean, flavorful produce year-round on its more than 30-foot grow towers. Plenty will complete its Richmond Farm Campus in multiple phases, creating more than 300 full-time jobs.
The company’s first farm on this site, a dedicated Driscoll’s berry farm to be completed by winter 2023-2024, will be the first to grow indoor, vertically farmed strawberries at scale.
“At Plenty, we’re on a mission to sustainably grow fresh food for everyone, everywhere,” said Plenty CEO Arama Kukutai. “This campus will raise the bar on what indoor vertical farming can deliver. The scale and sophistication of what we’re building here in Virginia will make it possible to economically grow a variety of produce with superior quality and flavor. We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Virginia as we endeavor to rewrite the rules of agriculture.”
Plenty considered five other states for the project before choosing Virginia.
“Plenty’s decision to establish its first major east coast vertical farming campus in Virginia shines a spotlight on the advantages that make the Commonwealth the best location in the nation for companies growing our food safely and sustainably indoors,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “This transformational project further bolsters Virginia’s agriculture and technology industries and positions the Commonwealth as a leader in this next generation of agriculture. I am pleased to welcome Plenty to Virginia and look forward to the company’s growth and success in Chesterfield County.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Chesterfield County, the Greater Richmond Partnership, and Dominion Energy to secure the project for Virginia. Gov. Youngkin approved a $2.4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund, as well as a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to assist Chesterfield County in landing the project. The company is eligible to receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program, as well as the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created. Support for Plenty’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program.
“Indoor farming is fundamentally changing agribusiness with environmentally and socially responsible farming technologies that make local, sustainable produce available to more communities,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “Plenty will be able to easily grow and distribute fresh products to thousands of customers from its new campus in Chesterfield County, reinforcing the benefits of Virginia’s strategic location and dedicated workforce. We are proud to welcome Plenty to the Commonwealth and thank the company for further advancing the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry in Virginia.”
“There will come a day when we look back in disbelief that we would source fresh produce from half a world away, when companies like Plenty are proving that we can grow that same produce right here, year-round, in a way that not only tastes better, but that is also dramatically better for our environment,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “Technological advancement is what drives the industry of agriculture forward, so I am thrilled Virginia is playing a leading role in the indoor farming revolution that is changing, for the better, where much of our food is coming from.”
“Innovation, technology, and agriculture go hand-in-hand in Virginia, and we are thrilled that Chesterfield County will soon be home to the world’s largest indoor farming campus,” said Jennifer Wakefield, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership. “We’re pleased that Plenty is the latest sustainable company to select Greater Richmond to grow their operations.”
“It is clear that access to an expanding international trade gateway was key in Plenty Unlimited’s strategic decision to come to Chesterfield County and we look forward to partnering with them as their global gateway,” said Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Plenty is building a one-of-a-kind, environmentally conscious vertical farming operation and this company’s sustainability philosophy aligns with The Port of Virginia’s larger goal of becoming completely carbon neutral by 2040. Virginia is the top location for agriculture-related cargo, and we welcome of the news of Plenty’s investment in Virginia.”
Plenty’s advanced technology platform can grow fresh produce anywhere in the world, year-round, with peak-season quality and up to 350x more yield per acre than conventional farms. Plenty’s proprietary approach preserves the world’s natural resources, makes healthy produce available to all communities, and creates resilience against weather, location, pests, and climate. Plenty operates the largest-of-its-kind indoor plant science research facility in Laramie, WY and is currently building the world’s most advanced, vertical indoor farm in Compton, CA.